SOAS University of London

Department of Religions and Philosophies

Heewon Kim

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Heewon Kim
Department of Religions and Philosophies

Research Associate

Dr Heewon Kim
Thesis title:
United Progressive Alliance (2004-14), equality of opportunity and Muslims: a paradigm shift or political pragmatism?
Internal Supervisors


Dr. Heewon Kim is a Research Associate in the Department of the Study of Religions. She completed her BA and MA at Sookmyung Women’s University (Seoul, Republic of Korea), and in 2010 joined the Department of Theology at the University of Birmingham to pursue doctoral research. In 2011 she transferred to SOAS following her supervisor’s appointment as Dean. She was awarded a PhD in the Department of the Study of Religions in February 2015. Since November 2014, she has been working as SOAS South Asia Institute’s Notes Blog assistant.


Authored Book

Muslims and Institutional Policy in India: Rethinking the United Progressive Alliance (2004-14) Experience. Cambridge University Press (forthcoming 2018).

Journal volume
The Strange Death of Sikh Ethno-Nationalism: From Rebellion to “Hegemonic Control”, Nations and Nationalism (co-authored with Gurharpal Singh, accepted, forthcoming 2017).

Book chapters
‘Between Hegemonic Domination and the Quest for Equality: The Challenges of Managing Religious Diversity in India Today’, in The Politics and Practice of Religious Diversity: National Contexts, Global Issues (Routledge Advances in Sociology), Andrew Dawson, ed., (London: Routledge, 2016), 49-66 (co-authored with Gurharpal Singh).
‘United Progressive Alliance (I) and India’s Muslims: Redefining Equality of Opportunity?’, in Communalism in Postcolonial India: Changing Contours, Mujibur Rehman, ed., (New Delhi: Routledge, 2015), 234-256.

Book reviews
2015. India’s Muslim Spring: Why is Nobody Talking about it? by Hasan Suroor, Contemporary South Asia, 23:1.
2014. Debating Difference: Group Rights and Liberal Democracy in India by Rochana Bajpai, South Asia Research, 34:2, 186-88. doi:10.1177/0262728014533852

Kim, Heewon and Choi, Dongju, trans. (2008) Doing Business in India. By Rajesh Kumar and Anand Kumar Sethi. Samsung Books.

‘The Muslim Vote: A View from Delhi’, SOAS Election 2014 Blog. Available at: (2014)



Dr. Heewon Kim is a political scientist specialising in the politics of post-1947 India. Her research focuses on religion and politics in modern India, with particular reference to the post-1947 management of religious diversity, India’s Muslim community, and the post-9/11 state responses to demands from religious minorities for equal opportunities. She has examined these interrelated and overlapping themes in her doctoral research on the United Progressive Alliance government (2004-14) policy-making for religious minorities. This research develops a new framework for better understanding government policies for religious minorities through institutional policy analysis which draws on historical institutionalism, path dependence and the policy process. Institutional policy analysis, it suggests, provides more meaningful insights into understanding recurring cycles of policy failure in this crucial sector of public policy.

Kim’s research interests also include religions and development, communal violence, the role of faith-based organisations in religious conflict, post-conflict reconstruction, and religious nationalism. More broadly, she is interested in the comparative study of religious and ethnic minorities, multiculturalism and equal opportunities in Europe, South Asia, South Korea and Japan.